Affective Forecasting and Substantial Self-Knowledge

In Alba Montes Sánchez & Alessandro Salice (eds.), Emotional Self-Knowledge. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 17-38 (2023)
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Abstract

This chapter argues that our self-knowledge is often mediated by our affective self-knowledge. In other words, we often know about ourselves by knowing our own emotions. More precisely, what Cassam has called “substantial self-knowledge” (SSK), such as self-knowledge of one's character, one's values, or one's aptitudes, is mediated by affective forecasting, which is the process of predicting one's emotional responses to possible situations. For instance, a person comes to know that she is courageous by predicting her own emotional reactions to possible risks and dangers. This hypothesis explains why attaining substantive self-knowledge tends to be difficult. Attaining substantive self-knowledge is difficult because, first, SSK is mediated by affective forecasting and, second, we tend to be wrong about predicting the intensity and duration of our own emotional reactions. As a result, we can identify what is common to central cases of SSK: such cases require knowledge about complex dispositions whose manifestations involve affective responses that one is not sufficiently familiar with. One thus needs to resort to the highly fallible method of affective forecasting.

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Author Profiles

Uku Tooming
University of Tartu
Kengo Miyazono
Hokkaido University

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References found in this work

Value in ethics and economics.Elizabeth Anderson - 1993 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Is conceivability a guide to possibility?Stephen Yablo - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (1):1-42.

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